Born in Istanbul in 1928, Sevda Şener studied at different schools in various Anatolian towns throughout her elementary education; attended the Maarif High School in Ankara and finally graduated from the Eskişehir High School. She completed her degree at the Ankara University Faculty of Language History and Geography in 1950. She launched on an academic career as the first assistant assigned to the Institute of Theatre opened under the body of the same faculty in 1958 - becoming the assistant of Kenneth Mac Gowan and Grant Redford, who were American professors of criticism and play writing. She attended seminars and lectures at the Bristol University Department of Drama as well as at the Vienna University Institute of Theatre Sciences. The doctorate thesis she did on Musahipzade Celal was later published as a book under the title Musahipzade Celal and His Theatre. She acquired the title of associate professor in 1962 and professor in 1972. For a long period, she was in charge of the Theatre Department at the Ankara University Faculty of Language History and Geography and she taught there until retiring in 1995. She also taught theatre theories, aesthetics, criticism theories, modern and post-modern theatre, text analysis, dramaturgy, and contemporary Turkish drama literature in both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the Ankara University Faculty of Communications, Hacettepe University Ankara State Conservatory, and Bilkent University Department of Turkish Literature and Performing Arts. She has given lectures at the universities and art institutions in almost every corner of Turkey. Her articles and researches were published in many a respected magazine and she also wrote play reviews. Renowned as the "professor of the professors" in the theatre world, Sevda Şener was bestowed many awards.

Sevda Şener has written numerous books, which have contributed greatly to theatre. The Idea of Theatre throughout History, which looks into the movements in theatre since the Ancient Greece in chronological order and a comparative way, is considered a masterpiece in the field of theatre history in Turkey. Her book entitled The Art of Drama at the Breaking Point of Life analyzes the presentation styles of drama, tragedy, and comedy from antiquity to the post-modern works in our day. The Plays and Reality is a resource book on the development of Turkish theatre, based on the works of authors such as Reşat Nuri Güntekin, Haldun Taner, Nazım Hikmet, Oğuz Atay, Vüs'at O. Bener, and Memet Baydur. Her book Tiyatroda Yaşam-Oyun İlişkisi, published in 2010, comments on the relation between theatre and life, on the paradox of reality and play from the point of view of theatre. Other books by Sevda Şener include Çağdaş Türk Tiyatrosunda Ahlak, Ekonomi Kültür Sorunları, Çağdaş Türk Tiyatrosunda İnsan, Oyundan Düşünceye, Cumhuriyet Dönemi Türk Tiyatrosu, Nazım Hikmet’in Oyun Yazarlığı, Gelişim Sürecinde Türk Tiyatrosu, Dram Sanatı-İnsanı Geçitlerde Sınayan Sanat, İzleri Kaldı, and Tiyatroda Yaşam-Oyun İlişkisi.

Ankara University Faculty of Language History and Geography Department of Theatre organized Turkish Theatre Days in 2008 to celebrate the 50th year of both the department and Prof. Şener in profession, as well as her 80th birthday. The main stage at İzmir's Uğur Mumcu Culture and Arts Centre was named after Sevda Şener in 2009.

Sevda Şener died in 22 Temmuz 2014.